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Some girls dream of handsome men and loft apartments on Park Avenue, others dream of Chanel Fashion week in Paris. Okay, those girls may be in the minority, but at least it's an elite club. Imagine: those lights, those gazelle-legged models, the celebrity first row -- if that doesn't thrill you, you may be in need of an enthusiasm infusion. No one does glam quite like Chanel, and Karl Lagerfeld left it all on the runway again this year.
Chanel's Haute Couture Fall 2011 show was held at the opulent, glass-ceilinged Grand Palais. Shimmering star lights and crystal-encrusted chandeliers illuminated the affair, which featured a white column holding an effigy of Coco Chanel, presiding over the festivities. Designer Karl Lagerfeld, in his customary black suit, unleashed his vision for fall with 62 jaw-dropping looks.
The fall haute couture collection showed darkly modern clothes with references to the classic Chanel silhouettes and fabrics. Chanel's timeless boxy suits and collarless jackets were present in many incarnations, updated with long, straight skirts and sheer gloves under elbow-length sleeves. The long-revered boucle tweed suit was in contrast to pencil skirts in modern metallic fabrics. The color palette was classic Chanel with a twist: gray, black and white with jolts of vivid fuchsia and sapphire blue. Patterns and prints ranged from dark florals to black and white polka-dots to graphic squares. Evening dresses were close-fitting to the ankle, then exploded in a bloom of tulle or lace. Lagerfeld proved once again that he is a master of fashion showmanship.
Though the collection was riveting, the audience alone would have sufficed as its own show. The front row boasted Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson and Elle Fanning (Dakota's up-and-coming little sis) as well as a gaggle of "it girls" including Alexa Chung, Charlotte Casiraghi, Gaia Repossi, Tatiana Santo Domingo and Elisa Sednaoui. Vogue Editor Anna Wintour sat with colleague Hamish Bowles and makeup artist Jemma Kidd. Actress-designer Milla Jovovich rounded out the star-studded crowd.
Translation: Runway to Your Reality
Parisian couture is enticing to look at, but how does a girl on a budget interpret fashion that costs more than her car? The key is to study the mood of the show -- colors, fabrics, prints --then look for the trickle-down effect in your neck of the woods. Fall 2011 will be all about suits, texture and subtle metallics in dark fabrics. Lagerfeld showed that quirky add-ons such as bowler hats and gloves can take your fall outfits to the next level. When you hit the stores, experiment, have fun and most important, buy what you love.